RIP Sam Shepard
The show business lost another legend tonight, Sam Shepard has died at age 73. Shepard was an actor of film and television, as well as an award winning playwright.
Even though it was not even close to his first role, the first major film I remember seeing with Sam Shepard in it was "Black Hawk Down." He played William F. Garrison, the general who led the attack into Somalia that went disastrously wrong. Its amazing watching Garrison's attitude and demeanor changing from the beginning of the film until the end. There is a great exchange between Shepard's Garrison and Mr. Otto, played by Harry Potter's George Harris. Its a miniature battle of the wills, an explanation of what each side is fighting for, what they represent. Its an amazing display of talent. Its equally amazing watching Garrison go from cocky to scared to embarrassed by the outcome of the raid. Its an awarding performance by Shepard.
From that point, I kept a close eye on the world of Sam Shepard. I caught up with "The Right Stuff," one of the most wonderful films of the 1980's, and featuring an awesome performance by Shepard. I caught up with "Steel Magnolias" and "Days of Heaven." I would continue to watch his newer work in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "The Notebook," and "Mud" and "Brothers." There was "Out of the Furnace" and "Midnight Special." These all featured prominent and momentous performances by Shepard. Featuring a wide net of range, he was never an actor who merely did the same thing each year. Even when he played a tough guy in two movies, there was something different brought to the table with each of the tough guys. Too often, actors get bogged down to playing the same character each movie, but Shepard brought something different each time.
Shepard was one of those rare supporting actors that will be gravely missed.